If only we took the time to really see the story in a picture and explore it’s depth, if only we knew the true stories behind the faces, then maybe the picture might hold more significance. This photo for me is not just a great picture taken by Georgie Wilson (@georginamonette), it is the story of courage, challenge, commitment and friendships forged through unlikely circumstances.
For a moment, my breath was taken away when I saw this: it reminded me of what Wheel Women is about and how far we have come in the just over 4 years we’ve been running, and what it means for all the women who have experienced the joy of a ride with us. I am lucky to know the extraordinary stories behind every rider.
For any person seeing this picture I guess it looks very much like a group of middle aged women, who ride bikes. In fact, this is the story of women who are single, some widows, some married, some not, some with children and some who never have, some who work and some don’t…in all shapes and sizes. But above all, it is the story of so many who one day took that first step to go on a ride…in the dark so no one would see, alone and wondering how they would ever manage, or those who just said dammit and dragged that old bike out of the shed. They rose to the challenge regardless of their age, size, fitness or care of what others might say.
There are so many faces in this picture that started as beginner riders with us, some barely able to do more than a circuit of the park. Some are now coaches with us, some are ride leaders, some climb hills while others are just content with the endorphins from their regular social but active catch up. They are bonded by their love of cycling and their age, background, career or other detail is irrelevant…it is the bike ride that bonds them.
And then there is the bike shop guy. Not afraid to admit most of his clientele are women these days, I think all of us can say we are treated with respect, patience and a willingness to teach us what we need to know. He’s also happy to share a beer with the girls at the end of the week. We are not demeaned and we are treated with importance, as we should be. He is very much a part of Wheel Women and we like that! He is a role model for the supportive males we need in women’s cycling.
What also makes this photo special is seeing the commitment these women have made not just to their own mental and physical health, but to the cause that is Wheel Women. They are representatives of so many with INCREDIBLE stories of adversity, challenge and showing that they CAN.
Every woman I see cycling with us is an Ambassador for Women… to get healthy, ride more and inspire others! The women above reminded me of that. When other women see you out riding, they see themselves in you – they see your shape is theirs, your age is theirs, your grey hair, brown hair or even your cellulite on your legs is like theirs, that tummy that has a few folds is like theirs, and your laughter, smiles and friendships inspire them.
Keep doing what you are doing…you are all the change-makers!!
NOTE: Cyclic Bicycles, 56 Pin Oak Crescent Flemington for the supportive bike shop guy Evan